Welcome to day 18 of the Living Advent Calendar. Every day we meet an ordinary person opening real doors of love and hope to others in extraordinary ways. Today I’d love to introduce you to my lovely friends Becca and Hennie, who moved from London to Kenya with their three children, to live alongside, love and serve the Maasai community there. Over to Becca to share their story today.
‘We’ve been living among a remote Maasai community for eight years now. How did we end up living on the very margins of Kenya with our three little children… where the nearest supermarket is four hours drive away?
Well about 10 years ago both Hennie and I woke up one morning with an overwhelming desire to pack a suitcase, get on a plane and go. We had been supporting a small charity working in the area for a few years but never imagined we could live there! I can only say this must be what people say is being ‘called’.
Over the course of two years, including having our third child, we undertook training and put plans in place to move our lives and our children from London to Kenya. The last eight years haven’t been easy but we have had the enormous privilege of seeing God doing amazing things.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31
This kingdom principle is one that we have truly seen at work here in Maasai land.
A tiny school of 20 children in a wooden shack has grown to a school of over 200 children with eight classrooms, a nursery and kitchen with a fab bunch of teachers who love the children and want to see them reach their full potential; as well as a feeding program providing 400 meals every day to the children and their teachers.
We became involved with the school when our children pleaded with us to send them there so they could make friends. We were concerned about their education and were very nervous about them going to a tiny school in the African bush… was it going to be good enough, when they could have been going to a nice school in the UK? We felt God challenge us to send our children there and get behind the school as He was also concerned for His children too!
This decision has transformed our time in Maasai land and helped us to build wonderful and real relationships with the local people – identifying with their needs and being part of bringing a hope and future. Our kids are also fluent in Swahili!
Funding the school has been tricky, but we have seen God’s provision over and over again. The parents contribute what they can – which isn’t much – sometimes a bag of maize or beans and a few shillings. So, this is where the Maasai beadwork comes in…
My background is in art and design and I immediately connected with the Maasai women’s creativity through their intricate and beautifully unique beadwork. With just one talented widow and a few beads we began a beadwork project which has grown to over 20 women who employ at least one or two women each to help them. We have an online shop and sell to many different countries around the world.
We employ vulnerable women, mainly widows, who can now feed and clothe their families and send their children to school. We are able to channel any profits back into the school to help towards sustainability and also help pay the secondary school fees of some girls who would otherwise undergo FGM (female genital mutilation) and be married off at a really young age.
We also run a clinic which aims to reach the most remote and vulnerable people with little access to healthcare. We’re trying to focus on prevention rather than just continuing to treat very basic and preventable illnesses. Waterborne diseases are very common in this community as water is collected from streams which are shared with animals and where they bathe and wash their clothes. So, to tackle this problem we have managed to pipe water from a spring to the most vulnerable areas – 2000 Maasai now have access to clean water.
The community also struggle with malnutrition during the dry times of the year so with the little bit of land near our house we’ve managed to create a vegetable garden which we have developed and irrigated to produce food even when there is no rain. We’ve now rented the area next to it as well so we can produce even more food. By January we will be providing 10,000 meals every month from the veg we grow with the Maasai.
So, with the little we started with God has been faithful and multiplied everything in abundance! We live in a joyful and thriving community who know that they are loved by their creator.
If you would like to support us as a family you can click on the link below: